This opinion piece in the Chosun Ilbo makes a good point about the current state of K-Pop music and music in Korea in general. Han Hyun-woo writes that manufactured pop groups make up the majority of music in Korea these days, and there is little "real" music or songwriters that are popular these days.
I must say I agree with the sentiment expressed in the op-ed. I find it hard to keep up with what newest K-Pop group is on the up-and-up. Every day it seems I hear about a new group's debut--and each group sounds just the same as the one before it.
I usually only listen to the most recognizable K-Pop groups that I know, or to the songs that I find the most catchy and interesting. So you can find some music by Girl's Generation, Wonder Girls, Big Bang, 2PM, and SS-501 in my iTunes library amongst all the English music. But even with only a few groups I listen to, it's still difficult to keep on top of their latest music all the time.
Pop groups are always appearing, disappearing, and reappearing in Korea. For example, on Monday my students would come in singing the latest song by Miss-A. I'd get it stuck in my head for a few days. By Friday, however, those same students have moved onto the latest and greatest group--whose name I couldn't possibly hope to remember with all the others swirling around. "But what about Miss-A?" I ask. "No teacher," they answer. "Not good anymore. This group is much better." And so it goes.
Han Hyun-woo makes a good closing statement as well. He states that Korea should do something about the shallowness of K-Pop and popular culture before it's too late. The op-ed puts it bluntly: the fact that Koreans are so enamored with the manufactured girl/boy groups just goes to show how much Korean culture has changed in recent times.